May 23, 2018 – Merrilee Fullerton took the occasion of the PC Party’s release of its rural policies to highlight the fact she has signed the OFA’s Producing Prosperity in Ontario pledge.
“I have had good exchanges with OFA members and am supportive of their agri-food and rural policies outlined in their platform Producing Prosperity,” says Fullerton, the Ontario PC member for the riding of Kanata-Carleton.
OFA’s Producing Prosperity in Ontario
“I am committed to preserving our prime farm lands and supporting our rural communities through West Carleton. I have spoken about my goal to bring better broadband to the area and my support for rural health services. Also, there’s the PCs pledge to bring down hydro costs and taxes on fuel prices. All of this will make a difference.”
Fullerton adds, “I am very pleased to share the PC Party’s policies as announced today in Essex County, and that these mirror my priorities here in West Carleton.”
PC Party Policy
Ontario PC Leader Doug Ford announced today that an Ontario PC Government will increase the Risk Management Program (RMP) cap by $50 million annually to help farmers and other producers better manage risks outside of their control.
Ford also announced that an Ontario PC Government will enable private sector participation in the expansion of natural gas across Ontario. The provincial government would then, in turn, use savings of up to $100 million to partner with providers in order to deliver cellular and broadband expansion across rural and Northern Ontario.
On the Risk Management Program (RMP):
- The agriculture sector constitutes a large part of rural and small town Ontario, with over 2.2 million Ontarians employed in the broader agriculture sector.
- Ontario agriculture programs, such as the Risk Management Program (RMP), are vital programs for the continued success of the agricultural sector and, therefore, the Ontario economy.
- The RMP is an agricultural insurance program for farmers to get funding help when a particular commodity is below a certain target price due to circumstances outside of a farmer’s control.
- The RMP was created in 2011 and just over a year later the Liberals imposed a cap of $100 million on the program, which leaves little protection for farmers who may face unpredictable, and large, commodity price shifts.
How the PCs Will Fix It:
- A Ontario PC Government will increase the Risk Management Program cap by $50 million to help farmers and other producers better manage risks outside of their control.
- That means, $150 million will now be available to farmers annually through the RMP and the program will remain accessible to the cattle, grains and oilseed, hog, sheep and veal sectors.
- This policy will be implemented in year 3 of the mandate and will cost the government $50 million annually.
- Unlike the Wynne Liberals, Doug Ford and the Ontario PCs will give farmers and rural Ontario the respect they deserve.
On private natural gas expansion:
- The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) recently decided to prevent natural gas distributors from funding expansion projects in rural and Northern communities.
- Since the OEB did not let private capital build new natural gas networks, the Ontario Liberal government had to subsidize expansion through a $100 million program (Natural Gas Grant Program), to pay for something the private sector was ready and willing to pay for.
- The Wynne Government’s Natural Gas Grant Program only reaches 11 communities. In comparison, proposals from the privately-run natural gas companies were prepared to reach over 70 communities and over 38,000 potential new customers.
- Natural gas is a quarter of the cost of electricity and approximately one-third the cost of propane or fuel oil. Accordingly, providing communities with access to lower cost energy will give families, businesses, and farmers a much-needed cost saving measure.
How PCs Will Fix It:
- A Doug Ford Ontario PC Government will enable privately-funded natural gas expansion to more communities while saving the province up to $100 million.
On Broadband Expansion:
- Rural and remote communities in Ontario suffer from a lack high-speed broadband access and/or reliable cellular coverage.
- While high-speed broadband access is universal in urban areas, only 85% of rural communities have similar access.
- This puts rural communities at a disadvantage when competing for new businesses or even improving quality of life for families.
- When it comes to cellular service, a lack of proper infrastructure affects more than just the ability to communicate with friends and family. Proper cellular service can also save lives, and connect people with the necessary services, in emergency situations.
How PCs Will Fix It:
- A Doug Ford led-Ontario PC Government will make broadband and cellular infrastructure projects eligible under the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF), and put up to $100 million specifically towards funding these projects.
- The additional $100 million for the OCIF broadband and cellular projects will come from the savings associated with the changes to the province’s natural gas expansion program.
Support Merrilee Fullerton – Your Positive Voice for Change in Kanata-Carleton
Dr. Merrilee Fullerton